A gang member from LA is arrested for trafficking a minor through Fresno and across the state. On Sunday, Fresno Police pulled over 34-year-old Gerrey Brown on Parkway Drive near Olive Avenue. Police say he has an extensive criminal history, including charges for firearms and robbery.
There are families living in the neighborhood close to what’s known as a prostitution hot spot. That’s why there are two to six officers at a time patrolling the area daily.
What Parkway Drive is known for is exactly what police are trying to stop. Prostitution. Sergeant Alfonso Castillo says violent crime is down the last two weeks. That means more proactive patrols in problem spots like this one.
“When we can lower violent crime, which would be preventing the stabbings or shootings that are led by this, we can also start putting our resources to the root problem which is the human trafficking aspect,” said Castillo.
Within 15 minutes of riding with police, two men are pulled over for a turn signal violation after officers notice suspicious activity.
“So one of these guys was trying to talk to a female walking down the street that could have been a prostitute?,” asked a CBS 47 reporter.
“It could be an innocent encounter but based off the officer’s experience, it could also be that they’re harassing or trying to get that female to be pimped or pandered, something like that,” answered Castillo.
Police stopped another driver for a vehicle code violation after they say he took one too many laps around Parkway Drive, trying to contact females. Castillo says police are trying to keep crime from invading the neighborhoods behind these motels.
“It’s homes, children playing, people working on their yards,” said Castillo.
On Sunday, officers stopped 34-year-old Gerrey Brown for not having a front license plate. Police say he had a minor with him and discovered she ran away from the Bay Area, manipulated by Brown to work as a prostitute. Brown allegedly drove her back and forth from LA to the Bay over the last year. Tiffany Apodaca is the co-founder of Breaking the Chains, an advocate for human trafficking victims. She says more young women are seduced through social media.
“So social media has really blown this out, way out. Further than it was just with the girls on Parkway,” said Apodaca.
Apodaca says gang members can make more money off pimping than selling drugs or weapons. She says victims who don’t speak up, keep the human trafficking cycle going.
“It’s the number one priority in all of this is gaining their trust and letting them know that we will and can protect them,” said Apodaca.